The CD is a dying format, and while most of us won't miss the agony of skipping tracks on those scratched little discs, there's a gem rapidly falling by the wayside in its demise: the hidden album track. Sure, bands still tack extras on as "bonus" songs for deluxe editions, special iTunes releases and so on, but there's nothing quite like getting to the end of an album only to find the track numbers suddenly skipping ahead into some unknown & unannounced musical territory. And then… it arrives.
In honor of those wonderful little sonic surprises we hate to see fall by the wayside, we've put together a list of the The Top 10 Hidden Tracks In Rock, with accompanying audio for each song to see what you've been missing out on.
Nine Inch Nails – Physical
When Broken was first released, this and another extra track, "Suck," were included on a Mini CD packaged along with the blistering industrial EP. Upon learning that music stores were removing the mini CD and selling it separately, the two tracks were added onto the EP as tracks 98 and 99, respectively. At the 29 second mark, NIN nucleus Trent Reznor can be heard saying, "Eat your heart out, Steve." It's been speculated that this was directed towards Steve Gottlieb of TVT Records with whom Reznor had been feuding, as Gottlieb would not let him out of his contract. Broken was created entirely without the knowledge of TVT.
Deftones – Damone
Around The Fur
One of the best tracks off the Deftones' classic Around The Fur isn't on the official tracklisting, and doesn't appear until after nearly a half hour of silence after the final song "MX" ends. The sense of hopelessness & fury associated with betrayal comes through in full force on this slugger. But before the track begins, keen ears can pick up an earlier hidden track and called "Bong Hit," a.k.a. "Chino Taking Bong Hits".
The Clash – Train In Vain
This fan favorite wasn't supposed to be a hidden track, but the album was printed before the song was added to the tracklisting. It became a massive hit despite the printing slight. It was the first Clash song to crack the United States Top 30 charts, and in 2004, was ranked number 292 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song was written in one night and recorded the next day, near the very end of the recording for London Calling.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Poor Song/Porcelain
Fever To Tell
This delicate ditty after "Modern Romance" is dripping with unpolished, slow-swaying sensuality. A hypnotic love song no man could resist, it's a gravitational flipside to Karen O's trademark spastic lunacy that's somehow sweeter than the glorious yet overplayed "Maps". Mainstream missed out on a gem with this one.
Beck – Diamond Bullocks
Beck explained this secret Mutations gem on KCRW in 1998: "We literally, in one night, recorded eight songs, then took the 24-track tapes and cut them all up on a tape and created this crazy song. It was more about the process than the actual song, but I ended up liking the song too. It's like the wayward son at the Thanksgiving dinner who just doesn't really fit in with the family anymore, is the black sheep. So you put him at the end of the table."
Queens of the Stone Age – Mosquito Song
Songs for the Deaf
There's actually three semi-hidden tracks on Queens of the Stone Age's 2002 masterpiece Songs for the Deaf, an album so damned good it both conquered and legitimized the "Stoner Rock" movement as far more than a niche sub-genre. But "Mosquito Song," which is actually listed as "secret song" on the album's track listing, is the one truly worth mentioning, flexing accordion, piano, flamenco guitar and horns for a haunting orchestral jam. A line in the song was later used for the title to the band's 2005 record Lullabies to Paralyze.
Nirvana – Endless, Nameless
Seven minutes of blistering distortion and wailing spazmatics follows ten minutes of silence after Nevermind's final track, "Something in the Way," ends. A chugging blast of punk-fury abandon with free-falling melody passages, "Endless, Nameless" is a glorious snapshot into the seething, spastic polarities of the doomed grunge icon who left the world with a shotgun blast before reaching his full artistic potential.
Tool – Disgustipated
After the thundering conclusion to "Flood" on Undertow, the CD skips forward to track 69 on American copies, where a strange sort of sermonizing takes hold under steady percussion and the bleating of sheep that's a whole world of dark-comedy oddness. The menacing "This is necessary" mantra gives way to the repeated "Life feeds on life feeds on life….," a bad-trip crash course in Darwinistic survivalism. Several minutes of crickets and nighttime nature sounds later, an unsettling monotonous phone message voice sets in: "It was daylight when you woke up in your ditch. You looked up at your sky. That made blue be your color. You had your knife there with you too." This goes on for a while, with shifting colors and assorted oddities that cement this as the single strangest hidden track on the list.
Useless trivia: The term "Disgustipated" was first coined in a Popeye comic book in the 1930's, used to express a combined feeling of disgust and exasperation with a situation.
Wilco – Candy Floss
Summerteeth sported not one but two hidden tracks, the other being an alternate version of “A Shot In The Arm”. Elvis Costello, Squeeze and the Beach Boys' influence is immediately apparent, with a synth chorus and further confirmation that Wilco has all the pop sensibilities they need to be chart darlings – but they choose to stick to their creative guns, carving their own paths instead.
Pearl Jam – Master/Slave
Of the dreamy-tribal bookend musical sections on Pearl Jam's debut album Ten, bassist Jeff Ament told Billboard: "I think there were a couple of days where Stone (Gossard, guitarist) was either sick or at the dentist. We had a couple of days in the studio, and on one day we did 'Master/Slave' which is the beginning and end of the record. The other day, we just jammed on some things. This was one of the things we pulled up and we were like, 'Wow. This isn't terrible!' It shows you, even at that time, what Ed (Vedder, vocals and guitar) could ad-lib. Nothing got changed."